The Weber State Wildcats continued to claw their way back into the Big Sky race as they sent the Thunderbirds back to Cedar City with an 82-71 defeat last weekend.
Over 6,000 people spent their Saturday night packed into the Dee Events Center as in-state rivals Weber State and Southern Utah clashed. The Wildcat band was out for the first time all season, and one of the most energetic student section was present as WSU rolled over their rivals.
The game’s biggest performer was senior guard Cody John. He torched SUU for 28 points while shooting 6-11 from the field, 4-6 from three and a perfect 12-12 at the free-throw line. John also had eight rebounds.
While it was not his most efficient night, Jerrick Harding also pitched in on the scoring with 22 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists.
SUU saw a large portion of their scoring come from John Knight III; he had 24 points for the team that struggled to score efficiently. The T-Birds shot 39% from the field compared to WSU’s 48%.
The Wildcats have been winning more often than they were earlier in the season, but they still have work to do in the standings; the only way to climb is by avoiding back-to-back losses as they had against the Montana schools. On Saturday, the Wildcats jumped out to a 39-27 lead at halftime and made a statement.
While SUU scored 44 points in the second half, it did not matter because WSU had 43 points of their own to put them to an 82-71 win.
Despite the double-digit win, the game saw eight lead changes and was tied four times; the ‘Cats had to work for this victory.
After this win, WSU’s record moved to 11-16 overall and 7-9 in conference play. While the overall record isn’t attractive, the conference record is something that everyone has their eye on.
WSU currently sits at eighth place in the standings, but with four games left, there is plenty of room to jump. The reason why this is possible is that the fourth-place Northern Arizona Lumberjacks have a conference record of 9-8.
The Wildcats will have a chance to take over that spot if they rattle off wins, but time is beginning to tick. The Wildcats will battle against Portland State Feb. 29, who are currently sitting in sixth place.
The first two games of March will be against the bottom-feeding Idaho schools who are both currently on losing streaks. The ‘Cats regular-season finale will be against the Eastern Washington Eagles on March 7 in Cheney, WA. EWU is currently tied for second place.
The result of these standings will determine the seeding for the Big Sky tournament as each team battles to win the conference championship and advance to the big dance — also known as the NCAA tournament but better known as March Madness.